How to Act

Graham Eatough

National Theatre of Scotland

Summerhall

From 02 August 2017 to 27 August 2017

Rating: *****

Review by Philip Fisher

Pardoning the pun, this production from the National Theatre of Scotland is a class act, combining what many will value as a useful acting masterclass with a drama that feels painfully real, even if the final plot twist may not come as a great surprise.

The mildly disturbing opening sees Jade Ogugua as Promise introducing the great actor, Anthony Nicholl, played by Robert Goodale for a rare lesson in the art of acting.

Given that the writer/director of this play is the vastly experienced Graham Eatough, probably still best remembered for his work with David Greig at Suspect Culture, this was always going to be out of the ordinary.

Bringing to mind Peter Brook, Nicholl creates a sacrosanct circle and begins to entice, charm and bully Promise into revealing her inner self through performance.

Both also begin to tell tales of experiences in Nigeria a couple of decades before, one as a resident, the other on a tour, simultaneously finding material and himself.

What starts as an acting class develops into a fulfilling drama that could leave some visitors as shaken as the participants by its end.